Internet Censorship Variations between Western Countries

Topics: Internet, Internet censorship, Western Europe Pages: 8 (1969 words) Published: September 14, 2014


Internet Censorship Variations between Western Countries

Abstract
Governments and organizations commonly implement Internet censorship, which in turn provides an established online reality for Internet users. This paper discusses whether there are differences in Internet censorship between western countries and if so, why do these differences exist. Background information on Internet censorship and the reasons for differences in censorship between western countries are initially examined. The reasons for the differences were found to be cultural variation and the different strategies to implement censorship. Research was accordingly done to identify these differences with the examples of Britain and the USA. Furthermore, the change of reality perception caused by different Internet censorship strategies is discussed. To conclude, future implications and the importance for research to find social norms for Internet censorship are outlined. There are many people all around the world that are victims of Internet censorship, which underlines the significance of this paper.

Keywords
Internet Censorship, USA, Britain, Differences between Western Countries, Internet users

Introduction
Currently, media is most commonly on the Internet. Online media, the main means of mass communication through technical means, can be dangerous due to the fact that it has become an increasingly important source of information, entertainment and social activities (Pariser, 2011). There is no limit to what information can be put on the Internet or what can occur online. Therefore, countries around the world use Internet censorship in order to filter information that is bombarded at us everyday and presents a modified version of reality (Media Censorship, 2002). In western countries such as Britain and The United States of America (USA) there are 85 Internet users per 100 people and this means they are largely exposed to the dangers on the Internet (World Bank, 2013). Despite fighting against the same dangers, these western countries seem to have differences in Internet censorship.

This paper aims at researching whether there are differences in Internet censorship between western countries and why they may exist. This is significantly relevant because, as above-mentioned, there exists many Internet users in similarly developed countries. This research is presented in the following way. Firstly, background information on media censorship is given. Secondly, theories about why differences may exist are discussed. Thirdly, media censorship differences between the USA and Britain are presented through case studies. Fourthly, the effects of the differences in Internet censorship are outlined. Lastly, a few implications of the research will be discussed.

Background information
In modern days, it has become extremely easy to capture and share information. Within this world of information, there is a lot of hidden danger and the government of a country, some may claim, has the responsibility to protect their citizens from these dangers. This could include psychological harm, organization of dangerous activities, terrorism, cyber bullying, the access to private information or access to illegal information or substances (Shapira et al, 2003). This demonstrates how much danger is on the Internet and despite protecting its citizens from the same type of harm, western countries have differences in Internet censorship. These differences may exist because of a lack of social norms for using media on the Internet. Establishing norms around the world in general is difficult since we have different cultures and customs (Cerf, 2012). These norms are used to create a sense of order and provide a more convenient way of living.

Why are there differences?
Internet censorship is a relatively new concept and due to this, establishing social norms for it is even more difficult....

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